The drill bit market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 11.64% during the forecast period of 2020 – 2025. Major factors driving the market include increasing exploration and development activities, increasing unconventional fields development activities, and increasing directional drilling. On the other hand, the lack of investment in the offshore sector compared to that of onshore is expected to hinder the market growth in the coming years.
- The market demand for the drill bit is expected to grow at a faster pace in the offshore oil & gas sector than the onshore sector. The decline in the offshore rig count has slowed down in recent years, and offshore activity is expected to pick up after one to two years from now. Overall, the offshore sector in the drill bit market may witness more technological advancements and is likely to gain from the rising oil and gas prices.
- Exploring new markets in emerging economies of South America and Asia-Pacific and innovations in the drill bit technological landscape are presenting itself as a market opportunity for investors and drill bit manufacturers.
- North America has dominated the drill bit market in 2018 and is expected to continue its dominance during the forecast period. With the large-scale implementation of hydraulic fracturing technology and the shale revolution, the United States, which has been a net importer of energy since 1953, is well on track to become a net energy exporter by 2022. As the demand for drill bits is directly affected by oil and gas activities, increased oil and gas drilling activity has resulted in higher demand for drill bits in the country.
Key Market Trends
Fixed Cutter Bits are Expected to be the Fastest Growing Segment
- Fixed cutter bits have no moving parts or bearings, unlike roller cone bits. The cutters are permanently mounted onto blades, which are integral to the structure of the bit. Polycrystalline Diamond Compact (PDC) bits dominate this category and hold a much higher market share than Roller Cone Bits in the current drill bit market.
- Since the invention of the polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) by General Electric in 1971, this technology has impacted nearly all material removal industries. After its introduction into the drilling industry at Hughes Tool Co. (HTC) by GE Carboloy in late 1972, the PDC cutter and bit technology have progressed slowly for several years.
- Another contributor to the massive success of the PDC drill bit was the development of computer models, which helped to design and understand the behavior of PDC bits. Since 2000, PDC bits have rapidly expanded in oil and gas applications. Formations considered un-drillable a few years earlier are being drilled economically and reliably.
- The PDC bits can penetrate formations with hard interbedded streaks. As PDC is considered to be the best suit for shale drilling, the ongoing rapid developments in shale business have aided the growth of the PDC drill bit market in the past 20 years. PDC bits are now being used in s majority of North American land drilling applications.
- The fixed cutter bits segment is estimated to experience a high demand growth rate and is expected to continue dominating the drill bit market during the forecast period.
North America Dominating the Market
- In North America comprises developed economies with substantial oil & gas resources. The United States is one of the largest producers of crude oil and natural gas, which accounted for around 16.2% and 21.5% of global production respectively in 2018. The production surged in 2017-2018, mainly due to robust drilling in its shale reserves, led by Permian basin.
- As the demand for drill bits is directly related to the oil & gas activities, increased oil & gas exploration and production has resulted in higher demand for drill bits in the United States.
- The unique extended-reach horizontal shale drilling application has created a new set of specific challenges. The drilling challenges in shale formations are now very easily being mitigated by the use of PDC drill bits. Drillers in the region are working in tandem with drill bit manufacturers to optimize the drill bit usage.
- Furthermore, in Canada, new investment in new oil & gas projects witnessed a significant decrease from the 2014-2016 period, the rebound of oil prices to a sustainable level is expected to increase the upstream exploration & production (E&P) activities, particularly in the oil sands and shale areas.
- Therefore, North America is expected to be the dominant player in the drill bit market, supported by increasing oil & gas exploration activities during the forecast period.
There is a large concentration of small and medium-sized domestic enterprises across regions, offering a wide variety of drill bits to the local oil and gas operators, which adds to the competition for the global players. Some of the prominent players in the market include Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes Company, National-Oilwell Varco Inc, Weatherford International Plc, and Halliburton Company.
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